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What to Expect at a Criminal Court Appearance

 Posted on April 25,2024 in Criminal Defense

Stamford, CT criminal defense lawyerThe state of Connecticut is no stranger to crime, with 355 individuals serving new sentences in fiscal year 2022. In all likelihood, many of these individuals were blindsided by the charges brought against them.

If you have been arrested, you are likely feeling anxious and eager to know what to expect when you are required to appear in court. In this article, our Stamford criminal defense lawyer discusses what you can expect at a criminal court appearance and what appropriate court behavior looks like.


In most cases, a person who is arrested must appear in court the next business day. This initial court appearance is called the arraignment. At the arraignment, the judge will read the charges against you and advise you of your constitutional rights. You will then enter a plea. If the defendant pleads “guilty,” then the case will proceed directly to sentencing by a judge. Typically, a defendant is advised to plead “not guilty.” In pleading not guilty, a pre-trial conference is scheduled.

Setting Bond

At the arraignment, the judge will set a bond, which is the amount that you must pay to be released from custody. However, if you have no criminal history, there is evidence that you are an upstanding citizen, and the offense is non-violent in nature, you may be released on your own recognizance. Known as a PR bond, this is simply a written promise that you will appear in court as scheduled.

You may also have the option of using a bondsman to pay bail, although some defendants are not given the option to post bail.

Pre-Trial Conference

The next court date is the pre-trial conference, in which the prosecutor, defense attorney, and defendant will be present. A pre-trial conference is held once all the initial pleadings have been filed. At the pre-trial conference, both sides will discuss the case and attempt to resolve it.

At this time, the defendant may decide to take a plea bargain. A defendant may decide to change their plea to “guilty,” in exchange for a reduced sentence or for charges to be dropped. It may not always be in your best interest to enter into a plea bargain, so you need to consult with a Fairfield County criminal defense lawyer before taking any action.

Even though the prosecution and defense may come to an agreement, a judge must agree to the terms of the plea deal. If the case is not resolved at the pre-trial conference, then your case will be scheduled for trial.

Court Decorum

During any court appearance, it is crucial that you let your attorney speak on your behalf. Unlike television, outbursts are not permitted, and speaking out of turn can result in you being held in contempt.

Additionally, you need to be on time for each court appearance. Be sure to dress appropriately and stand when the judge enters and leaves the courtroom. Showing the court respect is important when you are facing criminal charges.

Consult with a Stamford, CT, Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Everybody deserves effective representation to safeguard their freedom. The first step in defending the charges brought against you is hiring a Fairfield County, CT, criminal defense lawyer. To find out more and to schedule your free consultation, contact the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner online or by calling 203-348-5846 today.

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